Letter writing is an art which was once the only means of communication. Read on to know the parts of a letter in detail to script effective letters.
A letter is a written form of communication. As a writer you are limited by the choice of words, space and time, to convey what you have to say through a letter. Thus, your thought needs to have absolute clarity while writing a letter. Parts of a letter depend on the type of a letter namely, formal and informal letter. These are basically divisions you make in a letter to state the purpose of the letter clearly.
The reasons for writing a letter may vary. For instance, one may write a letter for business, as a condolence, as an inquiry, for passing information or to simply keep in touch with an old friend. Although the technology has replaced traditional letters with e-mails, the parts of a letter still remain the same. Let’s take a look at parts of formal and informal letters and tips to write them effectively.
Parts of a Formal Letter
Date: 4th January, 2010
Subject Line: The subject line will mention the gist of the letter in a line. For instance, ‘a letter to the Commissioner of the Police, to inform the infringement security in our area’.
Reference Number or Code: #0167GB45
The body of the letter begins after the salutation. The first paragraph of the letter’s body is known as the ‘introduction’. The introduction, does the job of introducing the subject and talking in brief about the previously made communication. If you are sending the letter for the first time, then the introduction will be used to introduce the sender.
Once you have written the introduction, it’s time to begin scripting the main body of the letter. The main body of the letter is used to clearly express the point of the letter. The main body is the heart of the letter, which has to be written with utmost care and right choice of words. The main body can be more than a paragraph.
This is the last paragraph of the letter. This part of a letter is used, to thank the reader for devoting his/her precious time for reading the letter. It’s also meant to suggest a follow-up.
Parts of an Informal Letter
Date and Address
Date: 4th January, 2010
In an informal letter, there is no subject line or a reference number. The letter directly begins with the main body. Similar to its formal counterpart, an informal letter too begins with a salutation. The greeting is usually followed by inquiring about the reader’s health and those of his/her family members if any. The main body of an informal letter can be as long as you wish. The writing style follows no particular rule. In fact, an informal letter is expected to be descriptive in nature.
The conclusion of an informal letter must thank the reader for reading your letter and convey your regards to the receiver and his/her close associates.
Tips for Writing an Effective Letter
- A subject line, grabs the reader’s attention, induce curiosity and talk about the problem or clear the point in one line. Thus it must be written clearly.
- Reference numbers help in identifying the previously communicated messages and establishing the link of once again. Thus, double-check the reference numbers before you send the letter.
- In case of an informal letter one can use conversational or slang language. Abbreviations and contractions can also be used to write an informal letter. While doing so, remember that the letter must not sound impolite at any point of time.
- Writing an informal letter comes with certain restraints. One has to maintain a corporate language which is to the point, clear and concise.
- Although there is no restriction on the length of the main body in an informal letter, try to break it down into smaller paragraphs for the sake of visual convenience while reading.
- Informal letters can end with questions, an advice, a suggestion or a plea to continue correspondence. However, in case of a formal letter it must end with a thank you note and the brief recapitulation of the letter’s purpose.
- Ensure that a formal letter is proofread for grammatical and factual errors. A letter as such is a silent spokesperson for your company and hence it must be presented with absolute perfection.
A letter is a written document for expressing your thoughts. It has to be written in a clear and a concise way, so that the reader does not waste time in understanding it. A good form of communication is where an expression is understood, assimilated and reciprocated.